Few things are more frightening on California freeways than being stuck behind a truck carrying cargo that doesn’t appear to be properly secured. Material carried on large commercial trucks can be heavy and/or toxic. Unfortunately, some of the most poorly secured loads are on pick-up trucks. Pick-up truck owners often like to bring home new appliances from the store or move furniture themselves – even if they don’t have the expertise to do so safely.
Unfortunately, when things fall off of trucks onto the road, they present a serious danger – not just immediately to whoever is behind the truck but to those who may come along later.
Perhaps one of the most famous and tragic cases of this kind involved Alan Pakula. Pakula was the writer, director and/or producer of numerous classic Oscar-winning films including To Kill a Mockingbird, All the President’s Men and Sophie’s Choice. He was killed in 1998 on the Long Island Expressway when a seven-foot-long metal pipe crashed through his windshield. Police believed the pipe had been on the road when another vehicle grazed it and sent it flying.
Who is responsible under California law?
Some debris left in the road, either accidentally or intentionally, may be hard to trace. However, drivers or the company they work for, are responsible for it and potentially for any injuries it causes. Under California law, “Any person who drops, dumps, deposits, places, or throws, or causes or permits to be dropped, dumped, deposited, placed, or thrown, upon any highway or street…shall immediately remove the material or cause the material to be removed.” If the material has to be removed by a governmental agency, the person responsible is required to pay the cost.
If you or a loved one has been injured by something that has fallen off a truck – whether it’s a semitruck or a pick-up truck, it’s crucial to seek the compensation you need and deserve from all responsible parties. It can be wise to have legal guidance as you do this.